April 17th, 2014

fence-winslet

I Shoulda Known Better

I've been doing two rounds of PT every week these days, with occasional days off for weather, etc. When I scheduled up April I kept my usual schedule, but gee whiz... I NEVER have this many students coming to office hours. It's almost 2pm and I JUST checked my work email for the first time today. Last day of class is tomorrow, final exam is Tuesday...

So I just called the PT place in Allendale and canceled today's appointment, Thursday 4/17, and also Monday 4/21 and the following Monday 4/28. To make it to Allendale by 4pm I have to start packing up by 2-2:30pm, and given the number of people to see today, plus some grading I am trying to get done for class tomorrow -- no, something has to give. Plus, I get wiped out by PT -- it's SUPPOSED to be grueling -- and I have things I have to grade tonight, too. The 28th is after classes and exams, but it's my last day in my office before grades are due the next day, and I will have to get materials from my grader by hook or by crook. I really don't want to leave early on that Monday, too. Plus I get "a little" stressed at grading time.

Students: If you call me at home on the morning of the 29th to ask what your grade is, I won't mean anything by it, but I will casually reach my hand through the phone line and rip your throat out. And then hang up on you. Just a warning.

This Monday, of course, I ran up to PT. But Tuesday I pulled out of Lot #61 at 4:55pm and yesterday I pulled out at 5:28pm. Who am I kidding that I can leave early on three of the next four PT scheduled days?

Besides, bonus: I should still be here around 4pm, if I pack up then I can swing by 1110 Rood, the smaller lecture hall, for the annual departmental awards. That would be nice. I don't always get to do that.

Dr. Phil
massive-stars-carina-nebula

Everywhere You Look

As you look deeper and deeper in space, it's not just a distance but a time, since light traveling at the speed of light takes time to travel.

During my father's lifetime, the size of our universe became staggeringly larger when we realized that WE lived in a galaxy -- and those pretty spirally galaxies were much larger and more distant that we thought. Time and distance go back some 13.8 billion years.

Here are two videos of Hubble images showing how vast our universe is, going about halfway back.

I remember seeing the first Hubble Deep Field images in The Chronicle of Higher Education. They pointed Hubble at a seemingly blank bit of sky and built up a image photon by photon over a period of weeks.

In the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dave Bowman famously declares, "My God, it's full of stars."

The Hubble Space Telescope proved that the universe, "is full of galaxies." Each one with hundreds of billions to a trillion stars.

It makes one feel very small. It makes one feel big to be connected to such a stupendous universe.

Dr. Phil